Walmart History

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Wal-Mart Stores
Sam Walton founded Walmart in 1962. He was a businessman who started working in retail in 1940 at a J.C. Penney store in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1945, he ran a retail store in Newport, Arkansas, part of a chain of variety stores named Ben Franklin. Instead of renewing his lease, however, he decided to open a new Ben Franklin franchise in Bentonville, Arkansas and called it “Walton’s Five and Dime.” He succeeded by selling at a discount. Walmart’s purpose best exemplifies what the company still stands for today: “Saving People Money So They Can Live Better” (

Within five years, the company had grown to 24 stores throughout Arkansas, reaching sales of $12.6 million. The company officially incorporated on October 31, 1969 as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. In 1970, it opened its first distribution center and home office in Bentonville, Arkansas. By this time, it had 1,500 associates working out of 38 stores. Its sales were $44.2 million. In this same year, it began to trade its stock as a publicly held company and was soon listed on the New York Stock Exchange. By 1971, it had stores in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma. It expanded into Texas in 1973, and Kentucky and Mississippi by 1974, and Texas in 1975. By this time, it had 125 stores and 7,500 associates, with sales of $340.3 million.

By its 25th anniversary in 1987 it had 200,000 associates working out of 1,198 stores. Sales were $15.9 billion. It also completed a satellite network that linked all operating units with its Bentonville home office via two-way voice and data transmission and one-way video communication. It helped its home office to track inventory and sales and communicate instantly with its stores.

In 1988, Sam Walton turned over the CEO role to David Glass. However, he remained the Chairman of the Board. In this same year, the company opened its first Walmart Supercenter in Washington, Missouri. In 1995 it entered South...
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